In a heartfelt and honest Instagram post that strongly hinted at his retirement, former Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell wrote that his 2018 season would’ve ended differently. 2018 was the year he skipped playing after opting against playing on the franchise tag after him and the Steelers failed to reach a long-term agreement.
Here’s what Bell wrote a short time ago.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) July 14, 2022
It’s a long post that goes in many different directions including promoting his July 30th boxing match with Adrian Peterson. But the part about the 2018 season will matter most to Steelers’ fans with Bell writing:
“The NFL has done great things for me, & I truly appreciated every single year of my NFL journey … obviously, I (we, whoever) wish things would’ve played out differently in 2018, like if I legit had a time machine to go back to 2018, that would be soo litttt 🔥 for soo many reasons but I don’t…”
After playing on the franchise tag in 2017, Bell opted against doing so again in 2018. Despite the Steelers’ reportedly offering a large contract, one even Bell’s agent suggested he accept, Bell sat out the entire season. Pittsburgh would not franchise him again and he signed with the New York Jets. It signaled the beginning of the end of his career. Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in the Jets’ struggling offense with Rumors the organization didn’t even want him anymore. Bell was signed under Mike Maccagnan who would surprisingly be fired later that offseason. Bell wouldn’t even make it through two full seasons with the team and bounced around the rest of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bell’s words today strike a different tone compared to what he said in 2018, at the time telling reporters he had zero regrets.
“I don’t regret anything that happened”, he told reporters after officially signing yesterday. “Obviously everything has happened for a reason up until this point. But who’s to say if I played last year, if I do go out there and play on a one-year franchise tag, if I do get hurt, do I end up sitting in this position today being with the New York Jets is a beautiful deal?”.
Now 30, Bell appears to see the writing on the wall and is pursuing new avenues, focusing on his boxing career.
It seems Bell is regretting not playing the entire season. But it’s unclear if he wishes he would’ve played on the franchise tag, accepted the Steelers’ offer, or something else. He’s one of several examples of players finding the grass isn’t greener on the other side once they leave Pittsburgh. The silver lining is there isn’t the animosity between him and the fanbase/organization as there is for Antonio Brown. Perhaps if Bell is calling it quits, he’ll sign a one-day contract to retire with the team he shined with. The Pittsburgh Steelers.